A COWLEY father has called for council chiefs to take action against urban foxes after one killed four chickens in front of his horrified children.

Horspath Road resident Khalid Aziz said the animals should be found and rehomed, as he feared children in the neighbourhood were at risk.

But Oxford City Council said it could only offer advice.

Daughters, Iman, aged seven, and Noor, five, were in the garden when the fox attacked and killed the family’s four chickens on Sunday.

The 30-year-old courier said: “The fox was quite brazen “I’ve seen it out in the early evening, when there were kids hanging around the shop.

“The kids often run after it and I think it’s only a question of time before the fox attacks one of them.”

He had “foxproofed” his six-foot coop by putting down paving slabs to make it difficult for the animals to burrow underneath, but said the fox had got in this time from an overhanging tree branch.

It is the second time Mr Aziz has been plagued by foxes. Three of his chickens were killed last year.

He said: “I know we live near Shotover Park but the council should be held responsible for dealing with pests and vermin, such as foxes and pigeons.”

A fox attack in London last year sparked a national debate about whether the animals were dangerous. In June 2010, nine-month-old twins Lola and Isabella Koupparis were attacked by a fox as they slept in their cots in their home in Hackney, suffering arm and facial injuries.

Mr Aziz said: “The best thing would be for them to be trapped and rehomed somewhere else, but I think there is a real question about how we should be dealing with urban foxes, especially given that two children were mauled last year.”

He said: “We pay our rates to the council but can they keep our families safe?”

The council’s public health team leader, Graham Eagle, said: “We understand the concerns of the resident in Horspath Road.

“However, we can only offer advice. This can be found on our website.”

Penny Little, founder of the Great Haseley-based Little Foxes Wildlife Rescue, described concern over foxes attacking people as “complete and utter nonsense”.

She said: “Foxes are extremely timid animals and people have nothing to fear from them.

“If you shut up your chickens properly at night, the fox can’t get in. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure their coops are properly fox-proofed.”

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